Ups and Downs - A Work in Progress

15 August, 2020
Ups and Downs - A Work in Progress

Phew, the last four months have been intense. I don't have to tell you what's been happening. In a nutshell: our world is changing quite a bit and a few long suppressed topics are bubbling up to the surface.

My response has been quiet and slow, as this seems to be my way. Only now the time feels right to share a bit of my journey through the past few months, a journey of constant ups and downs.

Let's go back to the beginning. March was lockdown time here in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Very quickly I could feel a certain pressure in the air, that everyone should use this time to be productive. Artists around me started lockdown projects,100 day challenges or online workshops. I was feeling more and more reluctant to do anything at all. All I wanted was time and space to breath and listen. I wanted to be fully open to what was going on.

And that was exactly what I did. I let go of all those expectations and stayed away from too much media noise. My well established meditation practice helped me to come back to the reality of each moment - again and again. This way I was able to watch my thoughts and feelings passing through. Then, between all of those ups and downs - out of the blue - I found a piece of paper with magical words on it: "Muka makes my heart sing".

It was definitely my handwriting, however I could not remember writing this at all. What I could remember vividly was the feeling and it only took me seconds to open my muka treasure box. And there it was: glowingly beautiful muka making my heart sing immediately. That moment I knew I needed the healing wisdom of harakeke back in my life. What a calling!

I felt especially drawn to the blue muka I indigo dyed in Bali last year. No wonder if I think about it now. It is the colour of the ocean and the sky, often it symbolises freedom, security and serenity. As soon as I started working with those magic threads I was feeling at home. It was all I needed to feel deeply connected and to trust life again. There was no concept whatsoever in my mind, all I did was letting my hands speak. After many years of working with different media I figured that this intuitive process is the reason why I feel driven to create art. I'm able to access the unthinkable, I get answers to questions I did not know I have, I can figure things out I could not otherwise.

When I'm looking at what has manifested so far I can see my journey trough the past few months.

I can see my constant ups and downs, waves of trust and doubt, hope and grief, expansion and contraction, excitement and fear, vigour and exhaustion...

I can feel the rhythm and see a pattern - dark and bright spots in balance.

I understand that these ups and downs are not linear. They are never two-dimensional curves. They are in fact part of a spiralling movement, a constant work in progress.

By working myself through this creative process, I'm finally able to feel the joy of riding these waves and let myself be this unfolding spiral. It's all amazing and I believe we are here to learn. Sometimes it needs an unpredictable virus and sometimes very sadly another black life lost. Rest in power, George Floyd! Sending waves of love to all of you. Aroha nui (much love) Isla


"Ups and Downs - A Work in Progress" - handspun muka (fibre of harakeke / Phormium tenax) on wire, dyed with indigo and ceriops tagal.

Tags: natural fibres, fibre art, art yarn, handspun wire, handspinning, natural colours, natural dyeing, harakeke, fibre sculpture, muka

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